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Bowyer : 'This is the one you've been waiting for'
Clint Bowyer looks back on his second place finish in Can-Am Duel 2 at Daytona International Speedway.
Bowyer : 'It feels good to be competitive again'
BUY TICKETS: See the Daytona 500 live! DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- It wasn't quite the Daytona 500 pole position -- although for a while it looked like it might be -- but Clint Bowyer 's fourth-place qualifying effort Sunday afternoon on the Daytona International Speedway high banks was a huge confidence boost for him and for his Stewart-Haas Racing team. Bowyer took over the No. 14 Mobil 1 Ford Fusion for retired great Tony Stewart this season and his first official outing in the car Sunday certainly was noteworthy. And assuring. The 2012 Cup championship runner-up looked stout taking over driving duties for the three-time series champion Stewart -- and held the lead spot on the timing pylon for a good portion of the qualifying session before Hendrick Motorsports teammates Chase Elliott and Dale Earnhardt Jr . topped the mark. Even so, Bowyer was smiling and enthusiastic when qualifying closed. "It's a great effort, considering everything these guys have gone through all season long, switching manufacturers and everything that goes with that,’" Bowyer said of his SHR team. "It was right where they left off and we gained on it." Bowyer , who was signed by the Stewart-Haas organization in 2015 to replace the retiring Stewart, drove for HScott Motorsports last year while "on deck" for the seat. And he suffered through the worst season of his career with not a single top-five finish. The promising start in his first official outing for SHR was exactly the kind of beginning both Bowyer and his team could appreciate. "It's a nice first time out with him and more importantly, I think it's a big progression for Stewart-Haas," crew chief Mike Bugarewicz said. "It says a lot about this company and how hard everybody has worked -- our R&D group, everyone in the body shop, the aero engineers, everybody. "Having two cars in the top 12 (also seventh place Kevin Harvick ) we had a reasonable shot at it. We're happy. This team has been through a lot the past two years and now meeting up with Clint, we're excited and looking forward to working with him. I think we're going to have a lot of fun this year. "When the organization that's been working so hard, sees speed in the car, that's a good thing. And him climbing in for the first time … this gets him pumped up and everyone in the car excited and ready to go." Bowyer has four top-10 finishes in the Daytona 500 , including back-to-back fourth-place efforts in 2009-10. He says this restrictor-plate style of racing is something he said he looks forward to. This opportunity with SHR is something he's ready to seize. 'It's Daytona," Bowyer said of the importance of his efforts. "It feels good to be competitive again. I was down here last year and we were way off the pace. It was crushing because you know deep down you don't even have a chance and when you've got a car like this -- a hot rod like this and a team like this -- I've got a chance.’’ &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Junior annoys in zen room, Bowyer can't sleep, more tweets
Editor's note: Every Friday during the season, "Tweets You Might Have Missed" presents eight of the best NASCAR-related tweets from the week. 1. Couples Massage: to the lady I annoyed in the zen room. If cell phones aren't allowed my robe wouldn't have pockets. — Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) February 14, 2017 2. I saved % on Valentine's Day this year by switching to single — Alex Bowman (@AlexBRacing) February 14, 2017 3. Got some new @YETICoolers to travel with but it seems that Keelan has other thoughts of what should be in the bag.. pic.twitter.com/RYPLdcW5pC — Kevin Harvick (@KevinHarvick) February 16, 2017 4. Off-season training regimen comes to a end... @PaigeKeselowski has me training with 2 hp today on honeymoon 750hp Friday @DISupdates pic.twitter.com/viehEdsHyZ — Brad Keselowski (@keselowski) February 15, 2017 5. My 5:30 wake up alarm. Even on a Saturday??? Come on man! pic.twitter.com/Jw5Bc6fOrV — Clint Bowyer (@ClintBowyer) February 11, 2017 6. 7000ft was the place to be this morning coming home! pic.twitter.com/BC4ZC7vGPY — Chase Elliott (@chaseelliott) February 12, 2017 7. Thank you @tacobell for the goodie bag. We made it ma! If you remember my prank on the interns last year, it's featured on #tacobellclipshow pic.twitter.com/tMupx7iArB — landon cassill (@landoncassill) February 15, 2017 8. On my way to @KernRaceway and we passed under a . That's good luck right!? pic.twitter.com/nPUkgj9mx4 — Kyle Busch (@KyleBusch) February 11, 2017
Behind The Wall: Clint Bowyer - Episode 1
In part 1 of a 3-part mini doc-series for NASCAR Digital and Facebook, we follow Clint Bowyer as he transitions to a new team and prepares for the Daytona 500.
Hamlin passes Earnhardt for Duel 2 win at Daytona
BUY TICKETS: See the Daytona 500 live! RELATED: Duel 1 results " Duel 2 results " Projected lineup " More on the race Denny Hamlin used a push from Austin Dillon and momentum on the outside lane to pass race leader Dale Earnhardt Jr . for the victory in his No. 11 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota with two laps to go in Thursday's Can-Am Duel 2 at Daytona International Speedway . The reigning Daytona 500 winner, Hamlin has also won a Duel race twice in his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career. "We definitely had a strong car but so much of that race was single file and so it was really tough to show what we could do in the pack once we got two- and three-wide, but it looked like our car could make some really good moves and got a great push from the 3 (Dillon) there at the end," Hamlin said. "It looked like our cars worked really, really well together there so we’ll keep that in mind when I need somebody to draft with in the 500." Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Clint Bowyer and Kurt Busch finished second and third, respectively, while AJ Allmendinger nabbed a fourth-place result in his No. 47 JTG Daugherty Racing Chevrolet. Austin Dillon completed the top five in his No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevy. Earnhardt Jr., who led Duel 2 to green to start the 60-lap event, led a race-high 53 laps around the superspeedway but finished sixth. "I don't know what I could have done differently to defend that," Earnhardt said after the race. "Once I heard the No. 3 (Dillon) was clear on the outside, I knew they was going to have a big run. Denny (Hamlin) is so smart and he knows what he's doing out there. He's one of the better plate racers out there. Any which way I would have went, he was going to go the other way and probably get by me. I was hoping Austin might push us a little bit since he drives a Chevy; but I don't know if I would have done it any different than he did, either. Congratulations to Denny." The Can-Am Duel 2 race set the outside row for Sunday's Daytona 500 , with Earnhardt Jr. retaining his outside pole position from Sunday's qualifying session. Duel 2 winner Hamlin will start fourth, runner up Clint Bowyer will roll off the grid sixth, etc. Just as Duel 1, the top-10 finishers received championship points: Race winner Hamlin earned 10 points, second-place Bowyer received nine, continuing down through 10th-place. Fourth-place finisher Allmendinger did not receive any points as he failed post-race inspection. Ryan Blaney (20th) was contending for the lead with 15 laps to go and running in the top three when his No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing Ford was clipped by Jimmie Johnson (13th), who got loose from David Ragan 's (11th) No. 38 ride. Ragan and Blaney also had some contact. Blaney took a trip down pit road under green for repairs. One lap later, Johnson scraped the wall, triggered the caution and brought the No. 48 Chevrolet down pit road for five-minute repairs, per NASCAR's new damage rule. DJ Kennington was the highest-running Open car in 15th-place and thus earned a spot in Sunday's Daytona 500 (2 p.m. ET, FOX, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Elliott Sadler received a spot due to speed in Sunday's qualifying session. Timmy Hill did not make the field. &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Ford Performance lifts brand, cars to new heights
Photo credit: Nigel Kinrade/NK Photography For 2017, Ford Performance will field seven Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series organizations featuring 13 teams. Driving Ford Fusions for the first time this year are Stewart-Haas Racing drivers Kevin Harvick , Kurt Busch , Clint Bowyer and Danica Patrick . Harvick won the series title in 2014 while Busch was the last Ford driver to win the series’ championship, in 2004 with what is now Roush Fenway Racing . "I think you've seen over the past year with the formulation of Ford Performance that we have a different approach to our racing program," Global Director of Ford Performance Dave Pericak said when the agreement with SHR was announced early last season. "A lot of people have heard me say that we don't race to race, we race to win and we also race to learn. So we're truly using racing as an innovation test bed in development of new technologies, tools and our people. "I think Stewart-Haas brings with it just an enormous amount of expertise and the way that they approach racing is a very technical way, so all of that is going to blend very well with what we’ve been doing within Ford Performance and how we are approaching now our racing program." In the past four years, Ford teams have visited Victory Lane 35 times and six of its drivers have earned a spot in the 10-race, championship-determining playoff. Team Penske 's Joey Logano has advanced to the Championship Round in two of the past three seasons. "There does seem to be an increase in engineering support again," noted one long-time team owner. "It's nice when Raj (Nair) and Dave, guys dedicated to winning, show up at the track. You know they are there for one reason – to see a Ford win." It's something that doesn't go unnoticed to Ford drivers. "With the transition to Ford, right off the bat the thing I've enjoyed most is it's the head honchos you're talking to," Bowyer said. "Raj Nair has made this Ford Performance the reality it is today, and he's the guy you're talking to."
Bowyer gears up for 'best opportunity' with Stewart-Haas
RELATED: First look at paint schemes of 2017 CONCORD, N.C. -- There's been plenty for Clint Bowyer to adjust to in the brief time that he's officially been a member of Stewart-Haas Racing 's driver roster. He's had to acclimate himself to the way that his new team operates. He's also had to become more familiar with the personnel on the No. 14 Ford that Bowyer will drive in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in 2017. A helpful hand from his new crew chief, Mike Bugarewicz, has helped Bowyer adjust to both of those new concepts. When Bowyer half-jokingly asked Bugarewicz if he had a team roster to keep him from addressing his crewmembers with, "Hey, buddy," or similar salutations, the second-year crew chief unexpectedly delivered. "He's such a dedicated person and so prepared, he literally went and took pictures of all the guys and e-mailed me the names of them," Bowyer said Wednesday during a preseason media event at the sprawling Ford Performance Technical Center. "I'm like, 'Man, you didn't have to do that. I could've come down.' " At which point Tony Stewart , his team owner and predecessor in the No. 14, interjected: "He says he didn't need that. He needed that, trust me." Laughing aside, Bowyer continued to underscore his point. "That's the level of dedication that you have at Stewart-Haas," Bowyer said. "And it doesn't just end with Mike, it's all across the board. If you ask for something … you've got to be careful asking for something because it's just done." RELATED: Harvick bullish on changes " Transition to Ford among top story lines The next adjustment that Bowyer may have to make is getting accustomed to relevance, something in short supply even before he was announced Sept. 30, 2015 as the successor to three-time series champion Stewart for the organization's flagship team. Bowyer drove in relative obscurity for Michael Waltrip Racing in its waning days, then languished through a throwaway season in 2016 with the former HScott Motorsports operation as he waited his turn to join SHR. "If he could've clicked his heels three times and made it 2017, he'd have done it in a heartbeat," Stewart said. "But we were all just reminding him: 'Be patient. You've got a lot to look forward to.' And we were hoping that his season would turn around at some point, too, but it didn't work out that way and it wasn't for a lack of effort on their side. "I think the nice thing, though, is -- as odd as this sounds -- I've seen him a lot calmer than I saw him all last year. I don't know that he's ever calm, but you can tell he's excited about what's coming up. He's genuinely excited about getting in the 14 car and that makes us happy, too." RELATED: Stewart at ease in new role at SHR Bowyer's authentic anticipation is attached to what he calls "the best opportunity I've ever had." Not only does the 37-year-old driver now have an avenue to potentially return to Victory Lane for the first time in more than four seasons, he also has the chance to place his name back among the sport's top tier. Bowyer has always been known as one of the most animated and energetic figures in the NASCAR garage. But performance -- or a lack of it, in the case of Bowyer's most recent body of work -- has a way of shuffling even the most engaging figures to the shadows. Bowyer's return to a high-profile ride likely changes both the prevailing perceptions and his exposure level, but the results will need to follow suit. "Here's what I hope -- I sure hope you're watching me," Bowyer said. "At the end of the day, relevancy in this sport is everything and I've lost that a little bit. Not a little bit, a lot. And I felt it and didn't like it. It's up to me to go out and become relevant again, have you watch me and talking about me. "It makes everything better. This is a business. This is racing, but once you race at this level, it becomes a business and it trickles down to everything in your life. We're race car drivers but we do this for a business. From my dirt program, everything, my (car) dealership, it just really trickles down. Every business thing that's happened really feeds off of your success on that race track. I had a bad year and I want to become relevant again. You don't work as hard and you have a hell of a lot more fun." RELATED: Key moments in SHR history Before he embarks on that goal, Bowyer has had fun getting better acquainted with his new surroundings, no doubt aided by Bugarewicz's handy chart. But the jollity has also extended to enjoying the luxuries of championship-level equipment for a change. Bowyer marveled at the comfort and quality of his new carbon-fiber seat, remarking "I feel rich" with regards to the perfectly tailored fit. And in a further illustration of Stewart-Haas' attention to precise details, Bowyer was asked last weekend about his preference for a gearshift handle. When the newest SHR driver reacted with indifference in saying that any handle would do, he was presented with eight possible choices. "I think we have dialed in the right gearshift handle for myself and my success this year," Bowyer said with a wry smile. "If not, we have plenty of extras to go around." &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Bowyer 'confident' in ability to win Daytona 500 for SHR
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Clint Bowyer is typically a high-wattage personality, so when he arrived in Florida on Tuesday to tour the Naval Air Station Jacksonville to help promote the upcoming Daytona 500 , he was absolutely in his element. The sailors and airmen were excited to meet the Stewart-Haas Racing driver and he was ecstatic to talk about his legitimately high expectations when the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season gets on track at Daytona International Speedway later this month. "I'm probably as excited for the Daytona 500 in particular -- forget the season starting -- as I've been in a long time," Bowyer said Tuesday from Jacksonville. "I'm as confident in my chances as I've been in a long time. "I think our cars are looking really good. They've been in the wind tunnel, the guys have been working really hard and we're actually going back to the wind tunnel to perfect them even more. "So the commitment to the plate racing is something I haven't seen in a while and I'm really excited about the horsepower. Doug Yates has been over to the shop and I've been out-run by his horsepower at these restrictor plate tracks for a few years now so I'm looking forward to reaping the benefits of having one of those under the hood and I think that's how you're going to win this race." Bowyer , 37, has certainly been close enough to hoisting the sport's biggest trophy. He has finished in the top-10 in half of his starts on the superspeedway, including four of the last five Daytona races. He has three top-five finishes including fourth-place runs in the 2009 and 2010 Daytona 500 . Last year Bowyer even salvaged a ninth-place run in the July Daytona race despite driving for an underfunded team, as he waited for his ride at Stewart-Haas to become available in 2017. And now after a season of mostly frustration -- only three top-10s in 2016 -- driving for a lower-tier, now-defunct team, Bowyer will at last take over the steering wheel from his good friend, three-time Cup champ and team owner Tony Stewart in the famous No. 14 Mobil 1 Ford. And for the first time in years, Bowyer feels like all systems are a go. "I'm not blowing smoke when I say I really am confident about my chances at that race," he said about the Daytona 500 . "I've gotten close several times at that race. It's one of those tracks you feel like, 'Darn it, I'm gonna win this some day.' I think the cars are looking good in my favor. The equipment I've got underneath me is the best I've had in a long time and the commitment to winning not only (at Daytona) but everywhere is something I haven't seen in a long time and I'm looking forward to having that to my advantage." As for his visit to Florida this week, Bowyer enjoyed his time spending a day with servicemen. And he offered a heartfelt reminder that fans can show their appreciation for these men and women too -- donate $3, $5, or $10 to the Ticket for the Troops programs and Daytona International Speedway will match the money in its efforts to send military members and their families to the "Great American Race" on Feb. 26. And Bowyer is hopeful that means they will have a chance to see him again -- standing tall and celebrating loudly in Daytona's Victory Lane. "I really don't know what I'd do if I won the Daytona 500 ," Bowyer said. "But this is one of the best opportunities I've ever had and the confidence is as high as it's ever been. "It felt good to talk racing again, talk about the season and talk to the media. The biggest thing having these interviews kind of tells me is maybe the media is thinking I do have a chance at not only running well but winning a few of these races. I'm looking forward to getting down there to Daytona, getting in the saddle and working with my teammates and coming up with a good package and a good plan to put ourselves in contention." &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;&lt;span _rtetemp=&quot;spchk&quot; style=&quot;background-color: #ffffaa;&quot; _rtespchksugg=&quot;Lt"alt"ult"flt"let"lit"lat"lot"ltd"t&quot;&gt;am&lt;/span&gt;p;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Expectations for Bowyer ’s first year at SHR
Clint Bowyer and his new team owner Tony Stewart talk about their expectations for the No. 14 Ford in 2017.
Bowyer , wife Lorra welcome baby girl Presley
NASCAR driver Clint Bowyer and his wife, Lorra, welcomed their second child into the world, keeping a musical theme in their choice of baby names. Bowyer tweeted Friday the arrival of daughter Presley Elizabeth, indicating that "everyone is good" after the delivery. Oh boy am I in trouble now!! World...meet baby girl Presley Elizabeth. Everyone is good! pic.twitter.com/qmeRE397Wm — Clint Bowyer (@ClintBowyer) December 9, 2016 The selection of Presley -- spelled identically to the last name of rock 'n' roll icon Elvis Presley -- pairs nicely with the handle given to Bowyers' son, named Cash Aaron and born Oct. 1, 2014. That calling card happens to pluck Johnny Cash's last name with Elvis Presley's middle name. The 37-year-old driver had announced that the couple was expecting back in June, jokingly lamenting that he was about to lose "our grasp on male dominance w/in the Bowyer household." Bowyer wrapped up his lone season with HScott Motorsports in 2016. He'll drive the Stewart-Haas Racing No. 14 Chevrolet next season, succeeding the retiring Tony Stewart .